Whatever your role in school - headteacher, teacher, governor, support worker or other - you have a vital part to play in protecting and promoting the welfare of the children and young people in your care. Working together to safeguard children 2018 sets out how organisations and individuals should work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people in accordance with the Children Act 1989 and the Children Act 2004.
You can also refer to the NSPCC's online free self assessment tool. It has been designed to help schools' designated safeguarding leads assess their current safeguarding arrangements, identify standards that have been met and your areas for development.
This webpage contains useful resources for schools to support you to fulfil your statutory responsibilities to keep children and young people safe.
Your safeguarding duties
Because of your day-to-day contact with children and young people, your teachers and support staff are uniquely placed to be able to detect at an early stage possible welfare concerns, signs of abuse or neglect, changes of behaviour or failure to develop. You can then refer those concerns to the appropriate organisation, usually the local authority children's social care services.
Schools are expected to promote children's safety and wellbeing in a number of ways:
- by creating safe and secure learning environments
- by using the curriculum to make pupils aware of how they can keep themselves safe and what behaviour towards them is not acceptable. It is important that children and young people are taught to recognise when pressure from others (including people they know) threatens their personal safety and wellbeing
You should also have effective arrangements in place to address a range of issues such as:
- pupils' health and safety
- racist abuse
- harassment and discrimination
- use of physical intervention
- meeting the needs of pupils with medical conditions
- providing first aid
- drug and substance misuse
- educational visits
- intimate care
- internet safety
- school security
- issues which may be specific to a local area or population, for example gang activity
Designated safeguarding lead (DSL)
All schools should have a designated safeguarding lead (DSL). They are responsible for dealing with child protection issues in school, providing advice and support to colleagues, liaising with the local authority, and for working, where necessary, with other organisations. The school designated safeguarding lead is the first point of contact for any member of the school staff who has a concern about the safety and wellbeing of a pupil. Download more information about the roles and responsibilities of the DSL here.
Other safeguarding roles
School governing bodies are accountable for making sure that their school has effective safeguarding policies and procedures in place and for monitoring their school's compliance with them.
Headteachers and their leadership teams must be clear about their statutory responsibilities in relation to safeguarding and the steps they are taking to develop good practice beyond the statutory minimum.
All staff need to be particularly sensitive to signs which may indicate possible safeguarding concerns, for example poor or irregular attendance or children missing from education.
Ofsted safeguarding inspections
During their inspection, Ofsted inspectors will be seeking assurance that children in your school are safe and that they feel safe.
The following Ofsted resources detail how inspectors judge the effectiveness of safeguarding in your school and provide you with guidance on how to meet your safeguarding requirements:
- inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills
- common inspection framework: education, skills and early years from September 2015
- headteacher interview
- designated teacher interview
- governor interview
- safeguarding review record
Every child, young person and adult has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Our Anti Bullying Strategy 2017-19 helps to support this.
Bullying is a key issue in schools and how schools recognise and respond to bullying is a key judgement for Ofsted.
There are a number of statutory obligations on schools with regard to behaviour which establish clear responsibilities to respond to bullying. Every school must have measures to encourage good behaviour and prevent all forms of bullying amongst pupils.
You may find the following government resources useful:
- Preventing and tackling bullying replaces previous advice and aims to embed anti-bullying work in schools. It outlines the government's approach to bullying, legal obligations and the powers schools have to tackle bullying. It also sets out the principles which underpin the most effective anti-bullying strategies in schools. Further resources are listed for school staff to access specialist information on specific issues that they face.
- Advice for head teachers, staff and governing bodies on preventing and tackling bullying and on supporting young people who are bullied from the Department of Education
- Inspectors briefing on exploring the school's actions to prevent and tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying
Sexualised behaviour resources
Sexualised behaviour is an issue relevant to everyone, particularly those working with children and young people. However it is a changing picture with a wide debate about norms, cultural differences and values, with different views about what is healthy and unhealthy.
This guidance will help professionals and practitioners to understand healthy behaviour and to assess and respond in an appropriate way to children and young people.
The NSPCC has teamed up with O2 to produce free resources for schools and teachers that can be used in the classroom to help children to stay safe online.